Tributes have been paid to a “beautiful” Gloucester hairdresser who died following an alleged stabbing last night.
Hollie Gazzard has been named as the victim of the alleged murder in Southgate Street in the city centre.
The 20-year-old from Churchdown was said to have been attacked while working in Fringe Benefits and La Bella Beauty salon just before 6pm. A 22-year-old from the city has been arrested on suspicion of murder and is currently in custody at Cheltenham Police Station.
It is believed that the victim and the alleged attacker knew each other. Hollie, a former student of Chosen Hill School, was taken to Gloucestershire Royal Hospital, but died shortly after.
She previously worked at Zest bar in Eastgate Street and the King Teddy pub in Longlevens.
Hollie’s family today issued a statement:
Hollie is our daughter and was a beautiful, happy and loving girl. She was full of life and we are very proud of her. She was at the beginning of her life and to have it taken away in this manner is very hard to bear. Everybody she came in contact with loved her, enjoyed her company, her happy nature and her sense of fun. The world has lost a treasure, she was so loved by all her family and friends and the brightest star in their lives has now gone out. The only comfort we have at this time is that Hollie is now free and at peace and that no harm can ever come to her as she lives with the angels in heaven. We are grateful for all the support of our family and friends and would like to express our thanks to the medical staff who tried so hard to save Hollie and to the police for their sympathetic and understanding care.
It is understood Hollie was allegedly attacked in front of her co-workers at the salon.
Rich Payne, owner of Zest, paid tribute to Hollie.
She was beautiful. She was absolutely loved by everyone who met her. She was an amazing person. We are all heartbroken to hear what has happened. She was beautiful. She always had a smile on her face with her big white teeth on show. She was always happy and got on with anyone. I just want everyone to know how amazing she was.
She was so petite, just five foot one and tiny, it is hard to see how anyone could hurt her. We are all so shocked and heartbroken by what has happened. It must have been horrific for everyone involved. She spent nine months working here, before she left to be a hairdresser on a cruise ship, but sadly she did not enjoy it and so came back.
After leaving school Hollie got an apprenticeship with The Edge Hair and Beauty and studied at the Reflection Training Academy in Bristol. Hollie began working for Fringe Benefits last year after returning from the cruise ship.
Gloucester MP Richard Graham described it as a “ghastly and sad waste of life”.
Gloucester mayor, Chris Chatterton, described it as a genuinely shocking.
It is absolutely terrible and I can only imagine what the family are going through. I like thousands of others walk down that street every day and it is not something you would ever expect to happen. The police have acted quickly and arrested someone, which I hope goes some way towards reassuring people. But for this to happen to a 20-year-old, well it is a whole life lost. My thoughts are with her family. To get that knock on the door from the police is every parent’s worst nightmare.
A statement was issued by Gloucestershire Police, on behalf of salon owner, Marina Hodgins. It stated:
The owner of the hairdressing salon in Gloucester where a woman was fatally stabbed last night has said that she does not want to comment at this time. She has asked police to pass on her request for privacy.
Acting Chief Inspector Neil Smith said
Gloucester is a safe place to live, work and visit and this type of incident is rare. Officers are still in the area carrying out enquiries – If you were in the area and saw something we would ask you to contact police as soon as possible. We’re also working to put those who were in the salon at the time of the incident in contact with the relevant support agencies as we understand what they saw would have had a significant impact on them.
On the hair salon’s website it states Hollie was a hair designer. She wrote on it: “My career as a hairdresser started when I was 16 and was offered an apprenticeship within a salon in Gloucester. I have always known this path was for me as I have always taken a passion interest in hair and fashion. “I am a very passionate individual and take great pride in my work so can offer all my clients a unique professional and personal experience. I am a fully qualified and experienced level three hair designer, with a blend of in salon and academy training.
“I have recently worked on a cruise ship which was an enlightening experience but was not for me. I am now back in my home city and very excited to join Fringe Benefits and be part of their lovely team.
“I enjoy spending my free time with friends and family and going on shopping trips. I also like to keep fit and own a Pomeranian which keeps me on my toes.
“Top Tip: Your hair is a huge part of your personality, which will shine through after a visit to Fringe Benefits with me.”
Anyone who may have information on this incident is asked to contact Gloucestershire Police on 101, quoting incident number 340 of February 18.